Informed, democratically chosen public policy on any issues is impossible without electoral integrity. Since 2004, a major focus of our work has been participation in – and documentation of – America’s growing election protection movement. As the 2016 electoral debacle has made clear, our voting system is seriously flawed by multiple vulnerabilities including voter suppression, false vote reporting, party corruption, hackable electronic voting and tabulation machines, gerrymandering, and big data manipulation of public opinion enabled by massive corporate and billionaire spending.
As public awareness grows, pressures for substantives reforms are building. Our work contributes to that process.
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This article, published on Reader Supported News, underlines the key role electoral integrity play in our ability to make informed democratic choices about how to confront the converging crises our countries and our species face. Our work with the election protection movements since 2004 in both the US and the Philippines made us realize that without valid voting systems, public impact on public policy is impossible. As Noam Chomsky has recently observed, at the very point in history when we are faced with the looming global existential threats of climate change and nuclear war, the mechanisms of democracy are seriously compromised.
With the mind fogging meme of “Russian Influence,” we are avoiding a fact-based analysis of the 2016 election at our own peril.
By James Heddle, EON
Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington 1561-1612 – (Also credited with being the inventor of the flush toilet.)
Tragedy, Comedy and Farce All Rolled Into One
The official mythic revisionism of the recent US electoral debacle now seems to be settling firmly into place: Putin did it – the outcome was a result of ‘Russian influence.’
One can see how the Russian Influence Mind Fogging Meme might be mutually convenient for the elites of both parties to unite behind.
For the Dems it deflects attention away from their terminal corruption and incompetence.
For the GOP it deflects attention away from their gargantuan election theft apparatus, patiently assembled by the ruthless radical right-wing billionaires over the past decades .
For the deluded and dis-informed members of the American populace it provides someone to hate besides themselves and each other.
For nuclear crackpots and war profiteers, it inches us all closer to self-obliteration.
The only parties not served by the meme are the bemused and beleaguered President-Select Himself and his converging wrecking crew of nabobs and knuckleheads. Not only have they no mandate, but their entire tenure will now be indelibly tarred by the Putin brush.
As for the GOP, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll really be comfortable with being known henceforth as the Putative Party of Putin.
All this brought to us thanks to ‘the intelligence community,’ whose professional stock-in-trade, after all, is propaganda and ‘psyops’ mind-fogging operations and whose recent reputation is rife with examples of falsified evidence, screw-ups and failures.
Why not just declare the election a ballsup and do it all over again? (No one can hear your screams.)
Anything but the facts, M’am
Unfortunately for the future prospects of democracy in America, the claim that ‘Russian influence’ was more determinative of the election’s outcome than the vast GOP vote rigging complex, the Dems’ own incompetence, and the systematic disenfranchisement of millions of voters does not fit the easily available, verifiable ‘facts- on-the-ground.’
It is well known common practice, in the rough and tumble, cloak and dagger machinations of normal geopolitics, for governments to seek to influence the outcomes of foreign elections in ways favorable to their own interests.
Washington is a past master at this game, so is Russia, and so are all the other players having the capacity. This is not news, this is history.
So, with the latest ‘revelations’ – shown at this writing only to Obama, top officials and the President-Select – the intelligence community has reportedly concluded that ‘Russia developed a desire to influence the election in favor of Trump.’ Given the candidates’ respective publically declared attitudes toward Russia – Hillary, bellicose; Donald, friendly – that’s no surprise there either.
But were whatever ‘influences’ the Russians attempted to unleash on public perceptions so effective that – although Hillary won the popular vote by over 3 million ballots – Trump carried the key states that gave him the Electoral College victory?
Was the Russian ‘influence’ on the election outcome more significant than the systematic gerrymandering since 2011 of those key battleground states by GOP operatives using the REDMAP computer software and strategy, as documented in David Daley’s Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy?
Was it more effective than the massive voter suppression, purging and disenfranchisement tactics carried out by the Crosscheck computer program and discriminatory ID laws in battleground states, which blocked hundreds of thousands – if not millions – from voting, as documented by investigative reporter Greg Palast in his new documentary The Best Democracy Money Can Buy? http://thebestdemocracymoneycanbuy.com/
Was it more ‘influential’ than the $ billions in strategically targeted investments of the Koch donor network over the last decade and its multi-state army of astro-turf front-groups revealed in Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right and on the interactive site Koch Cash – Tracking the Single Largest Source of Private Money Corrupting Democracy published by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG)? http://kochcash.org/the-kochtopus/
Was it more determinative than the partisan private ownership of the secretly programed, ‘Black Box’ electronic poll books, voting, ballot scanning and central tabulating machines that tallied the ‘official’ count, as predicted in Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman’s prescient book THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft [Their important post-election analysis can be found at http://freepress.org/ and http://solartopia.org/ See also Bev Harris’s invaluable http://blackboxvoting.org/ ]
Was it more significant than the unvarifiable, ‘adjusted exit polls’ supplied by the suspect Edison Research organization hired by the mainstream media consortium to ‘verify’ the vote, as revealed in Jonathan Simon’s CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century: Election 2016 Edition? The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency on International Development treat un-adjusted exit polls as the gold standard of election integrity… everywhere but here at home.
If you can believe the ‘Russian influence’ meme after examining just those few easily available sources, I have a bridge to sell you, cheap.
And, if such gullibility is widespread, there is little hope that the massively corrupted US electoral system will ever be unfixed.
Onward Through the MindFog
Since he famously doesn’t need to read much, Mr. Trump could well have groped his way into the White House without even knowing about the vast vote rigging apparatus painstakingly constructed over the years by the GOP and the ruthless radical rich who have now taken it over. But he and his billionaire band of crackpots and scoundrels are for sure taking advantage of it now. And so are the GOP operatives happily consolidating control over the states caught up in the nationwide ‘Red Sweep’ that has resulted from the most flawed election in US history.
But that history is a sine wave, not an arc. Progressives at home and abroad can still effectively resist the worst effects of the emerging Trumpocalypse, but our elections will never have integrity unless we arm ourselves with a fact-based understanding of what really went wrong in our electoral system provided by just those few sources listed above.
Meanwhile, goaded by the Russian Hacker scare, President Obama has imposed sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 of its diplomats on suspicion of being ‘enemy agents.’ The chorus of Putin bashing rises in volume and intensity…as does the likely possibility of crackpot nuclearists pushing the US toward nuclear war with Russia, even China.
All this because we are unwilling or incapable of facing the fact-based reality of our systematically U.S. insider-compromised elections system.
The Assent of the Trumpskyite Ruthless Radical Rich Wrecking Crew
While all this is going on President-Select Trump – described by one European observer as ‘the latest “bobble head doll on the dashboard of real [U.S.] power,”’ has been busy appointing an administration peopled by the largest assembly of ideologically extremist billionaires and rabid militarists that have ever been gathered under one roof.
Cabinet appointees will work to pervert, hamstring or abolish the departments and regulatory agencies which they now head. http://commondreams.org/news/2017/01/06/new-resource-exposes-corporate-chieftains-filling-trump-cabinet
Simultaneously, the Captured Congress got off to an inglorious start, first revealing its true nature by attempting unsuccessfully to gut ethics oversight, then debating the abolition of Obamacare and the dismantling of Medicare.
The Planetarian Perplex – Surviving in the Nuclear Antropocene
Because of the widespread willful ignorance about our radically rigged election system, we are now about to be ruled for an indefinite – possibly terminal – period by an extremist regime of climate change denialists, fossil fuel moguls, crackpot nuclearists and racist neo-fascist billionaires.
No less an authority than Noam Chomsky tells us that the twin converging threats of nuclear war and climate change now present the greatest peril to survival ever faced by our species. Scientists have now identified human activity as the main factor in geological change and dubbed this new geologic era the ‘Anthropocene.’ Given recent developments, it might better be called the Nuclear Anthropocene. https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/2/noam_chomsky_with_trump_election_we
President-select-without-a-mandate Trump recently tweeted “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In a subsequent interview he added, “Let it be an arms race… we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” This from the guy who believes climate change is a Chinese hoax, while the Forces of Fossil Fuels have – at least temporarily – captured the machinery of government.
If all this doesn’t worry you much, check out Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You?
John F. Harris and Bryan Bender’s Politico interview with a former US Defense Secretary turned nuclear abolitionist. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/william-perry-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-214604
Thus do we find ourselves in a domestically triggered existential crisis, global in scope, ripe with danger and opportunity, in which the question is starkly posed: can we, working with others at home and abroad, avert apocalypse and planetary ecocide in the Nuclear Anthropocene?
Since all that now seems left of ‘American exceptionalism’ is our nation’s overarching negative impacts on the planet and all its beings and ecosystems, it seems incumbent on those of us who have experienced the trauma of awakening to the realities of our situation to devote the rest of our lives to that planetarian purpose.
Don’t Mourn, Organize
Maybe the current crisis is triggering the immune cells in the body politic into action. Whether or not they have parsed all the contributing causes, people are clear they don’t like the result. Protests and campaigns of resistance are taking form across the nation and around the world.
One example is a Plan currently circulating in progressive circles called Indivisible:
A practical guide For resisting the Trump agenda, in which ‘Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.’ https://www.indivisibleguide.com/
Indivisible, with no apparent sense of irony, calls for the adoption of Tea Party tactics – “If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.” Unlike the radical right they plan to mount “a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness….”
Others, who do view Trump as “the latest bobble head doll on the dashboard of real [U.S.] power,” are counting on non-compliance at home and international opposition abroad to precipitate transformative system-wide change and forestall a self-imposed extinction event.
Margaret Mead famously advised, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The rigging of the US electoral process by a relatively small network of the ruthless, the radical, and the rich has shown that Maggie’s aphorism can cut both ways.
To paraphrase a recent statement by ninety-year-old activist-icon Harry Bellefonte, we have some serious ass kicking to do in the Nuclear Anthropocene. Lets get started….
James Heddle co-directs EON, the Ecological Options Network with Mary Beth Brangan. http://eon3.net/ They blog at http://planetarianperspectives.net/ Their popular YouTube channel has featured video reports on vote rigging and the election protection movement since 2004. https://www.youtube.com/user/eon3/videos They are currently at work on a new documentary SHUTDOWN: The California-Fukushima Connection. http://www.shutdowndoc.tv/